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New group provides a social outlet for San Diego adults with disabilities

Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-26 19:44:27-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — There's a new way for adults in San Diego with developmental or intellectual disabilities to stay social and make friends.

An Encinitas mom started the group after seeing how isolating the pandemic was for her son and others like him.

Thomas Breen keeps busy with two jobs and college classes, but making friends has can be a challenge for the 23-year-old.

"The biggest piece of the puzzle was that he didn't have a social network," said Thomas' mom, Cathy Breen.

Breen says she and her son came up with the idea during the pandemic.

"The pandemic gave birth to "stay social," I think we're going to see a lot of things, where there is darkness there's an abundance of light," said Breen.

Breen and her son recently launched "staysocialnow." The group's calendar is quickly filling up with ceramics classes, mini golf, talent shows, and more.

The goal is to give adults with intellectual disabilities or special needs an outlet to make friends.

"I hope we're like the Cheers of San Diego for adults with disabilities, where there's a place where you go where everyone knows your name," said Breen.

"I feel so good after going to the events because people talk about it after the kids have been to it and "they feel like oh my goodness", we need more of it," said Thomas.

The mom of seven has worked hard to be an advocate for her oldest son, but she says this is a chance for him to feel a greater sense of belonging.

"I felt like I was including him and he was going into everybody else's world," said Breen adding, "It's neat for our members that they're coming together and they are going into the community together."

"For me just having something that I can call my own is something I can look forward to in the future," said Thomas.

Many of the events have been held at the Encinitas Community Center, but the group is partnering with local businesses.

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